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Call for new laws to protect nursing home residents

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

By Mícheál Lehane - RTE News - 21.06.2023 The Taoiseach has said that safeguarding laws will be strengthened as soon as possible, following a governance review into a Health Service Executive-run nursing home.

The review into the home, where a resident was sexually assaulted three years ago, found that residents had alleged incidents of sexual assault by the same healthcare worker.

In June 2020, a healthcare assistant ('Mr Z') who worked at the home was jailed for 11 years for the rape of a female resident, who was given the pseudonym 'Emily' for the purposes of the review by the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP).

Speaking during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil, Leo Varadkar said the NIRP report strikes terror into the hearts of people living in a nursing home and those with relatives in a home.

He said in the coming days an overseas safeguarding expert will be appointed to assist the Government and the HSE to fully understand what happened.

Mr Varadkar said that safeguarding laws will be strengthened as soon as possible.

"There isn't any time to waste here," he said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was a devastating incident and 'Emily' and the other residents who came forward to report abuse have been let down.

She called on the Government to introduce legislation to ensure residents are protected.

There is an urgency around this and parties would work together to make it happen quickly, she said. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.

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